Rosolino Palazzolo with some of the tropical fruits produced in his farm, including papayas and passion fruits, in Terrasini, Sicily, on Jul 19, 2018. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Thin Lei Win
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farmers go tropical as climate warmsNow, the southern Italian island famed for its picturesque orange and lemon groves is dotted with the kind of exotic fruit trees more usually associated with tropical climates – from papaya to bananas and mangoes.The 39-year-old is part of a new generation of Sicilian farmers producing exotic fruits – encouraged by demand and made possible by climate change.Letizia Marceno's family has been farming on the outskirts of Sicily's capital Palermo for seven generations and began growing bananas about eight years ago.Average temperatures in Sicily have risen about 1.5 degrees Celsius in the last century, said local climate researcher Francesco Viola, who rarely saw exotic fruits or greenhouses while growing up.Passanisi, who converted his grandfather's old vineyard and lemon farm 15 years ago, said the island's agriculture industry must innovate and collaborate if it is to have a future.He has brought together other Sicilian avocado growers under a single brand and now exports the popular fruit to France and Poland.
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